The mayor of Sandwich recently appealed to the Kendall County Board’s Economic Development Committee to help market the former site of a failed water park just east of the Timber Creek Inn and Suites hotel on Route 34.
Mayor Rick Olson, along with Jim Teckenbrock, executive director of the Sandwich Economic Development Corporation, discussed the future of the site located along Drew Street on the city’s far east side with the committee.
In response, committee members said they were open to working with the city.
A 2009 opening was planned for a 69,000-square-foot Hawaii-themed indoor water park on a 11.12-acre parcel just east of the hotel, south of Drew Street, but after some initial work was done on the site, the project was never completed.
Andrez Beltran, the county’s economic development and special projects coordinator, said no property taxes have been paid on the site since 2010 and there is more than $480,000 in back taxes owed on the property.
Beltran said the city of Sandwich also placed a lien on the property since the city performed demolition work on the site to make it safe.
County records show the current property owner as B E & R LLC of Gurnee. State business records show that the LLC is managed by a company called Ricchio Inc. in Gurnee.
Olson, who was first elected mayor in 2013, said the city did not have a surety bond or other measures in place when the property was first developed. He said the B E & R company purchased the property from the previous owners and original developers via a mechanic’s lien after doing work on the property. Olson said the current owners “have not done anything” with the property since purchasing it.
The property’s equalized assessed value is $279,000, with an estimated market value of $839,199, according to Beltran. The estimated cost of getting the site ready for new development is approximately $600,000, Beltran said, citing a developer. Beltran said that between the back taxes and other costs, it would cost around $1.92 million to redevelop the site.
Olson said the city could possibly buy the property, but anyone who does starts out with a bill for back taxes. If the city buys it, however, public property does not pay property taxes.
“That’s where the price tag has to start,” he said.
Committee Chairman Audra Hendrix said the only reason to buy the property would be to stop the lien.
“I think you need to focus on – my opinion only – is stopping the bleeding,” Hendrix said.